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Chicago Bears' General Manager Ryan Pace on Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, a 3-4 defense and more

Earlier today Chicago Bears' general manager Ryan Pace met the media at the NFL Combine. Here are some of the highlights from that press conference.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The following Ryan Pace quotes are all taken from the NFL Combine press conference transcripts of

We highlighted some of what head coach John Fox had to say at his presser earlier today in this article.

Ryan Pace started off his press conference talking about his and Fox's vision for the Chicago Bears.

That's kind of a slow process now as we're going through it. We share a similar vision, strong defensive play, physical offense, run the ball, which we're going to have to do in Chicago, build through the draft, those are some similar philosophies.

Then, as could be expected, the line of questioning focused on quarterback Jay Cutler.

We have gotten to meet with him, we've met with several of our players individually, with him being one. So far it's been good, we're going to take our time on this, we really have until mid-March, we're going to maximize that time and make thorough decisions through this while process.

And what would Pace want to find out about Cutler?

There's a lot we see on tape obviously, but there's things we want to know more about the player, and that goes for all our players.

Someone asked if Cutler would be the starting QB for the Bears in 2015.

We're still evaluating all that, obviously going through this whole thing so again I don't want to rush into any decisions, I want to max out the time that we have and just be thorough with every one of these.

Ryan Pace was asked what he's learned from studying Cutler's film so far.

Cutler has outstanding physical talent, there's no denying that. It's just getting to know the individual and all of the other intangibles that make a great quarterback. Again, that's what we're doing now. That really takes getting to know the person, right? So that's the process we're going through. Me and John have both been around all different kinds of quarterbacks, it's just figuring out him as a person.

He was asked this question, 'Will Cutler's evaluation focus on last year, his entire NFL career, Vanderbilt, or a 2, 3, 4-year window?'

It's going to be further than that 2, 3, 4-year window.

When asked how he balances the evaluation...

It's just internal discussions we have. There's certain things that were happening last year that might have been tough for him, and so we're going to analyze that and go further. The quarterback position is the hardest position to evaluate, so I think the more games we can look at, the more evidence, the more accurate we can be with our decisions.

Pace was asked about the off-field evaluation of Cutler was more about his work-ethic or his chemistry with other players.

It's all those things. I think the one common trait that you have to have is passion for the game. You love football. You do have different personalities, but if they love football and that's their No. 1 priority in their life, then that's attractive for me.

And on a QB's intangibles...

It's his preparation, his study habits and leadership and all those traits that come with the position. Those are things that stand out to me.

Pace was asked if he prefers to start with a veteran QB or develop a youngster.

I think it can come either way. Just getting the best guys at that position. I know Ron Wolf used to draft a quarterback every year. It's such a critical, critical position, that that's something we're always going to look at. And we want competition throughout the entire team, so competition at that position is just as good as competition anywhere.

And speaking of competition, the Bears did meet with free agent QB Josh McCown.

I've known him over the years. We did meet with him, we met with him this morning. And I've always respected him as a person, an individual and also as a player. It's just us being thorough and evaluating that position.

Pace seemed to get a kick out of the question if McCown is a starter or a clipboard holder.

I think he can be either.

I gave my thoughts on Josh McCown in the John Fox press conference recap, so you can head over there for that.

There is a young QB on the Bears' roster, and Pace gave his thoughts on David Fales.

I knew him coming out of college, so I'm still relying on that. Then we have, obviously, access to all our practice tapes, so we can analyze that. Part of the good thing, going back to the practice tape, not just him, but watching one on-one drills with the receivers and the DBs or the offensive linemen-that's valuable. We have our practice tape, and my college evaluation on him.

When asked a general question about the QB position he replied,

That's the hardest position to find and I recognize that but that's what we do and that's my challenge and we'll evaluate that.

Since Ryan Pace comes from the New Orleans Saints, he was asked if working with Drew Brees has spoiled him.

I am, and we've talked about it. There's different ways. All these quarterbacks, if we went through them all, they all have different personalities, just like we do. I don't think you have to be just like him, and I think it would be wrong for me to be that focused in on that that's the guy that it has to be.

Trade For Brees Imminent!

Ryan Pace was also asked if he and John Fox met with wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

We met with him like a lot of individual players and that's going to be a slow process and we look forward to evaluating that. Sometimes these reputations outside the building, you get inside and it's not what you expected and I think we need to make our own decisions and our own judgements and that's the process we're going through right now.

And specifically about Marshall's boisterous ways and his social media usage, and whether that can be a distraction.

"There are a lot of things that happen with every NFL team. And obviously those are things that occurred and we're analyzing that and researching those things. But it's not just one player. There are a lot of things that are going on. Why is a team not successful? And you're trying to dive into all those specifics. I know this, football needs to be the number one priority. And we're going to win a lot of games if we keep football our number one priority."

To tie Marshall back to Cutler, Pace was asked if spending so much time evaluating them was problematic because their return should be a no-brainer.

I don't think so. I know what you're saying, but I don't feel that I'm spending too much time on those guys. I feel like my time's allocated to the whole roster. I don't feel that way with them.

Here's the follow up question Pace was asked, "Does that just show how big a job this is?"

But we'd be looking at all of our players. There are guys on defense that fall under the same line. It's getting to know their personalities. I don't want public perception to affect my decisions. I want to get to know them personally.

And speaking of the defense, Pace confirmed that for the first time ever, the Chicago Bears will have a base 30 front.

That's the system Vic Fangio comes from so we've had a lot of internal discussions about that and really you're in your base 3-4 a certain percentage of the time but a lot of times you're in multiple defensive packages on third down so we'll be base 3-4, that's accurate and that's what Vic's comfortable with, but the best coaches they find ways to maximize their players' skill sets, I know Vic's going to do that. So our base with be 3-4 but we'll be in multiple schemes.

Multiple defensive packages and schemes and playing to his players strengths is what I was talking about in my last article.

When fans think of a 3-4 defense, they often think about a mammoth, mountain of a man at that position and Pace was asked if he has a 3-4 NT on the roster.

I think there's a couple guys who can do it. One of them's done it before in Dallas. It doesn't have to be this big, 350 pound space-eater. You can use him in a variety of ways.

He is referring to Jeremiah Ratliff, who played the nose in Dallas' one gap 3-4 scheme for many years.

Pace was asked specifically about Jared Allen making the scheme change.

I think he can be very flexible. We can use him in a variety of ways. He has done it for a lot of years. I feel the same way about several other players. (Lamarr) Houston is the same way. I think position flexibility is a strength of some of those guys. And again, I think Vic Fangio and John Fox are intelligent guys that will find ways to maximize their skill sets.

The NFL Combine is underway, so Pace was asked if he learned how to project players into a 3-4 defense from his time in New Orleans.

"A lot of times it opens it up for you. Because there are a lot of undersized defensive ends in college who can stand up and play outside linebacker in the 3-4. So it's exciting to me. I've been in both systems in New Orleans. We've been 4-3 and 3-4. So I think it opens up more players. Because there are undersized ends who can play that stand-up position and rush the quarterback from a 2-point stance."

And what does he target for a 3-4 outside linebacker...

"Pass rush is the first thing that comes to mind. Edge speed. The ability to hit the quarterback. And then also the ability to set the edge and get off a block. But pass rush is the number one priority."

He was asked about the depth of the d-line in this draft and he wouldn't tip his hand.

As far as the strengths and the weaknesses of the draft, I don't want to get into that, those specifics. It's up to me and our staff to find the right players in the draft, so I don't want to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this year's draft.

Pace was asked how he weighs the combine against actual game tape.

We go through this process here, but really the most important thing I get out of this is the interviews we do at nighttime and the medical. I think we've got to be really cautious about some guy working out well in shorts. The film and I know people say that, but I wholeheartedly believe it-is the No. 1 priority when you look at these (guys.)

Good answer.

And what about 2 time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long moving to offensive tackle?

He's very athletic and he's very well-rounded. I think he can play multiple positions on the offensive line. Again, that's ongoing, too.

That fit, with him. He has that skill set. We haven't gotten that specific with him yet.

I gave my thoughts on Long moving to tackle when I looked at the guards in my Roster Turnover Series.

Ryan Pace also chimed in on free agent Bears', Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs.

"We've talked to those guys. They're great Chicago Bears. And again. We're still going through that. Just like all the other guys. We've talked to them. And again, it's a slow process. But we recognize great Chicago Bears and that's going to be a big decision for us."

You can head over to for his full press conference.

What did you think about Ryan Pace's presser?